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Shifting Neighborhoods: Gentrification and Cultural Displacement

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Gentrification is the revitalization of inner-city neighborhoods and can be seen as both a positive and a negative change. While it is true the economy and crime rates improve, gentrification also has the tendency to price out the poor, minority residents and replace them with the higher income middle-class. Is gentrification more beneficial or detrimental to cities? Support your opinion with examples.

Gentrification refers to the phenomenon that the higher income class replaces the lower income class in the process of urban renewal, which emphasizes the replacement of the class. The main changed that gentrification brought were focus on the price of housing increased, the rate of criminal decreased, and new cultural and ideas were brought. The gentrification is a controversial changes because it helps the development of the city but meantime it brought a lot of disadvantages.

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First, the gentrification will influence the exacerbate urban xenophobia. Specifically, people was lived in those areas have to move but the price of the housing has already increased due to the replacement process. Poor people cannot afford the price and they have to move poorer place to live. However, it is hard for them to find the suitable place so that plenty of them live in slum. More and more poor people are homeless. For example, in Brazil, there are a lot of slums because of holding Olympics and the World Cup. The price of the housing and living cost were increased a lot and people used to live the area have to move because they cannot afford the price and life so that they need to move more dangerous and poorer place. Additionally, poor people cannot avoid the discrimination from rich people. People of color and old people are the main victims.

Furthermore, the gentrification will change the culture of that region, and this process may render the entire region uncharacteristic. The point is the gentrification ignores the history of a region. For example Charleston now is a city with a well development, but it was a city built by African American. African American was slaved and they played an indispensable role in developing this city. They were the major population before the 1980, and they lived in the towns with romantic and relaxed life. However, now it is rarely number of African American living in the same place and even the Charleston. The history and culture they brought was already replaced by the new kind of industrial city. In a nutshell, admittedly, the gentrification brought a big increase of the economy of a city or an area, but at the same time, it is unavoidably to lead poor people’s life changes and the replacement of the culture.


  • Dave Zirin. (2014). Brazil’s World Cup Gentrification through the Barrel of a Gun. Written by Dave Zirin,
  • Charleston Chronicle. (2014). Charleston’s Landscape of Memory: The Gentrification of History. Written by the Charleston Chronicle.


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